Should the president have direct access to the nation’s students?

A planned back-to-school address by President Obama is causing a stir in Minnesota’s school districts. Some parents say they don’t want the schools showing the speech to their kids. In response, schools are trying to decide how and whether to make the speech available. Should the president have direct access to the nation’s students?

  • Donna

    Of course, just because the health care debate is dominated by right wing crazies doesn’t diminish that the president is the president. Can you image the cry of foul from the Republicans if Bush was denied.

  • Wally Shelstad

    Simple answer is “NO”. School is for the learning process, not to push our leaders ideas.

    This is a free country and the choice is up to the parents and the students, not the schools to follow some leaders agenda to influence the young.

  • Bob

    This flap about the President’s address to the nation’s school children is disrespectful of the Office of the Presidency. Opponents are usinglanguage suggesting “This is only way for Obama to indoctrinate the nation’s children with his socialistic agenda.” Who’s injecting politics into this? What’s truly disappointing is that school officials are so poorly schooled in basic civics to understand what this gesture from the Office of the President really means and are so easily bullied by a highly politicized, vocal minority.

  • Cristina

    What is this country coming to when people don’t want our president to address the youth? By speaking to youth directly, he is telling them that they are valued members of the U.S. We care about them.

    He is simply doing his job, and if parents are concerned about the message, then it is THEIR job to talk to their kids about it, not to complain.

  • Steve Brand

    When I was a child in the St. Paul Public Schools, I have a vivid memory of the day classes were dismissed so students could be sent over to Summit Avenue to stand, wave and watch as President Eisenhower drove by. I don’t remember anyone worrying about his agenda. He was the President of the United States and it was important for us to see him.

    President Obama’s webcast to schools is the 21st Century version of President Eisenhower’s drive by. What could be more impressive than the President of the United States welcoming me back to school?

    Unfortunately, since Watergate, we have lost respect for the office of President. Regardless of party — my parents were Democrats but made sure we saw President Eisenhower — having the President visible in a positive way is an incredible gift to our children.

    Every President has an “agenda.” If he didn’t, why should he be President? Still, he is the President, symbol of the continuity of our democratic system of government.

  • Colman

    Yes the president should definitely have access to the nation’s students. This is a perfect oppurtunity to teach, engage and involve our young people about our country and its government. I imagine it would be a great chance for discussion in Civics class (if schools still teach civics that is). I think if we involve our students in the nations issues, they will be better equipped for civil discussions in the future and less likely to shout at eachother at town hall meetings.

  • Anthony


  • Duane Kamstra

    I can not think of a better civics lesson than our president speaking on a controversial topic. Whether you support or oppose his position, watching this speech and hearing his point of view is a tremendous educational opportunity

  • Ruth Hruby

    I am frightened by the question. I am 79. In the McCarthy era you could identify the source of the unAmerican fear and hate. What is happening in our schools that a popularly elected president is not respected?To deny students a video visit froom our President is evil.

  • Joseph Phelps

    President Obama is one of the best role models a child could have and I don’t really see what the big deal is considering President Bush Sr did the same thing back in the early 90s and most of my generation are Democrats so go figure.

  • mark

    Shame on any school administrator who is listening to ignorant parents. A US president wants to talk to our students for crying out loud. There should be no questions asked by school administrators except what date and what time. . Any parent who doesn’t want their child to have the opportujity to hear a presidential speach speciafically prepared for their child can come and get them. Whether that’s an excused absence is up to the school administration..

  • Elizabeth Pauly

    Absolutely! This is the President of the United States that we’re talking about. It is an awesome opportunity to have the president talk to our children about personal responsibility and working hard to achieve your dreams! If this is a controversial topic, we have come to a sad state as parents. It is embarrassing to me as a citizen of the U.S. that we should be even having this debate.

  • Marshall

    There was no fuss when H.W. Bush gave a nationwide talk to students to discuss his Goals 2000 initiative. But what we have today is a rightwing minority that has revved itself up into near hysteria and convinced itself that President Obama is some kind of monster.It’s frightening that people can lose such complete touch with reality.

  • Barb

    President Obama is the president of all citizens of the US. He is also a person who overcame many obstacles in his life by focusing on his education. He is a wonderful role model for our children– of course all our children should hear his speech. If only one student in each school decides to stay in school as a result ofObama’s speech, giving him the time, and having all children watch and listen will be well worth the time. This is not about partisan politics except by those who want to make it so.

  • Jeanne Messersmith

    I remember years ago (40) when we sat in a high school auditorium and watched the current October’s World Series games. Now we are questioning our students’ access to our U.S. president as he seeks to encourage and support their educational efforts? I am amazed at this disrespect for the office of the President. I am also upset that his message is being censored by school districts. At a time when we desperately need a model for our African American young boys and men, we have this kind of censorship and obstructionism taking place. We are losing a whole generation of African Americans – we need to hear his message!

  • Greta

    Yes if it is an inspirational speech such as extolling the students to study hard and take responsibility for their schooling and how this is important for the country. I’m sure this is what President Obama has in mind. He has too much class to make it a political speech on such controversial items as health care, Cap and Trade etc. (Face it he’d lose the student in the first minute if he did that.) To calm the fears of those that think he is planning a propaganda speech (maybe they spend to much time listening to talk radio) the President should release the text of the speech early for all to see. Face it most kids won’t read it before the broadcast but it could calm the fears of some adults.

  • Erick Wiger

    I seem to recall that President Bush was having “direct access” with students when 9-11 happened.

    I suspect the President’s address will be non-partisan and non-political. It is the radical right’s actions that has politicized the issue.

  • Nancy

    It is wonderful to have a president who is truly interested in education and in our students, instead of merely using the subject of education for political platitudes. He is the President after all, and yes, he should be able to speak directly to any and all Americans whenever he wants. Any objections to this address are actually racism and racial politics hiding behind a facade of “parental concern”.

  • Paula Moyer

    This is a manufactured controversy, with the stamp “created by crazy people” clearly visible on the packing.

    Of course the President of the United States should be able to address the nation’s youth. What’s not to like about the president encouraging your young people to study hard? Only the brainwashed would see this is a problem. God bless America, and God bless President Barack Obama.

  • Matt

    The President has every right to speak to any citizen of the U.S., including our children. I feel ashamed and embarrassed that people can be so thick-headed as to believe that Pres. Obama will “brainwash” the nation’s students with his “socialist agenda.” Whether you like it, or not, Pres. Obama is our leader and he deserves some respect and admiration.

  • Sara

    When the space shuttle Challenger exploded after takeoff, I was in 4th grade. We all paid close attention to the launch because teacher Christa McAuliffe was on board, and we were traumatized after the explosion. When President Reagan spoke on TV that night, I felt like he was talking directly to me, and it made me feel like even though I was just a kid, I was included in the mourning happening across the country. I’m by no means a Reagan fan, but I can only imagine what it would have been like as a kid to hear a speech the president actually addressed directly to ME. What a great way to engage kids in current events and government, and to have them hear a message about the importance of education from the leader of our country. Kids seem to be the only ones left who aren’t completely jaded by politics and a distrust of the office of the president.

  • Alison

    Absolutely! Of course it should be non-partisan. We need to get past the point where everything is percieved as partisan. Before we are Republicans, Democrats, or members of another party we are Americans.

    It is also time to stop the strategy of lying often and with such conviction that the American people percieve it as truth. I have seen copies of the propaganda of those opposing the President’s address to the children. It is being disseminated by the same groups who have spread lies about other issues with enough voracity that many people have taken it for the truth. This dishonesty is dishonorable and un-American! If you can’t fight fair you have no business in out political system! Media outlets need to consistently hold their guests and interviewees responsible for truth in their statements and cease returning to those who have lied to them in the past.

  • Peter

    Talking to grade-school students is not the time to push an agenda. Obama knows this. He also knows what it feels like to enter society as a marginalized individual and that he has an amazing influence on minority students. This speech, however insignificant, seems to be a great opportunity to discuss success in a place where that message needs to be heard.

  • Patrick Hirigoyen

    I also remember taking time from school, while growing up in California, to experience the honor of waving at President Kennedy as he rode in a motorcade in Berkeley, Calif. All families — no matter their party — saw him as the leader of our country and of all the people. We’ve lost that sense of unity and purpose in this country, and we won’t restore it until parents impress upon their children a respect for our leaders and public officials, respect for other citizens and a commitment to education and open public discourse.

  • Susan

    The President should absolutely be making this speech! One of his job titles is Chief of State. He should be encouraging students to do their best. And as our first President who is a man of color, he has a unique ability to reach out to all students and tell them that the dream is reachable for them too.

    What are we so afraid of? Messing up the school day? Teaching is often messy. This is a positive thing.

    Please quit being cynical for just a few minutes and look at the larger picture of a man wanting to inspire students.

    I teach government to 9th graders. What a wonderful way to start my year with an example of the President doing is job as Chief of State.

    I think it would be a wonderful tradition for ALL Presidents to continue, regardless of their party affliation or whatever other woes the country is in.

  • Kerry

    My answer is yes, yes, yes! I am a teacher in a school where students need all of the encouragement they can get to stay engaged in school and learning. The students here look up to President Obama. When we watched the inauguration last year it was the first time that I heard some of my students talk about going to college and having great ambition and vision for their lives as well as the belief in themselves to achieve greatness. As teachers we tell kids these things every day, but an address from President Obama carries so much more weight with them.

    In addition to that, I highly doubt that he is going to spend his time “trying to embed socialist tendencies” into the minds of our children! Come on people!

  • This debate disheartens me but does not surprise me.

    There seems to be a substantial and vocal minority of people in this state and in this country who are so upset by November’s election results that they perceive *anything* the President does as negative, wrong, pernicious and politically motivated.

    This is not only disheartening, its also an actively dangerous belief to our society.

  • Dana Dickson

    Why are the schools even considering advancing the hate filled racist Republican agenda, by blocking a Presidental address encouraging the children of America to attend school so that they can succeed?

  • alaKurt

    How is this different from a President, a Senator, or a Governor making a personal appearance in a public school auditorium? Do the teachers close the students inside their classroom, preventing them access to see the President? I think the only difference is the sheer number of potential viewers of the speech. By all means, restrict a child’s exposure to history viewed first hand, and let the child receive the handily edited sound bites and clips without context that are offered on the wall-to-wall cable news channels!

  • Mike

    I don’t see what the big deal is. It seems as though there is an element in this country that is so angry and hateful of the President that no matter what he does, they will object. If you have a problem with the President’s message, then, I don’t know, maybe talk to your child about what the President said and how/why you object to the message. Kids are a lot smarter than some people give them credit for.

  • Dave

    The anger of the wingnuts is driven by their fear of The Other – a fear well-exploited by the Republican party. I think their current fear is based on the idea that Obama will embed subliminal messages into his broadcast; that he will ask them if they would like to play a game of solitaire, a la “Manchurian Candidate.”

    To the question, though, of course The President should have access.

  • Kelvin

    Do we not celebrate “President’s Day” in this country?

    G. W. Bush was given two passes when he “jacked” the 2000 & 2004 elections. Americans followed the Bush administration into this so-called War on Terror, only now, to be beckoning for its end. A large majority of Americans only became concerned about the functioning of the Bush Administration when gas became to high, even for them, for them to affordably travel/commute from their suburbs.

    Now our current President (who happens to be of color) wants to address high school students, send them a positive message, any message other than the “war on terror” bull, and some Minnesotans are up in arms about this.

    This resistance to Obama is no different than the refusal of some U. S. states to celebrate M. L. K’s birthday. America (and its accompanying racism) will never be ready for a black president.

  • Sarah S

    The President’s address to youth should be shown in every classroom. Adults seem to forget that as kids, we had no idea what politics was about, no matter how much our parents explained it. School kids learn about the President and now he is talking directly to them – what could be more fun, exciting, or inspiring for our young citizens?!

  • Sara


    What better civics lesson could start the school year than a welcome back by the President of the United States. The parents who are saying “no” could use a civics lesson and attend a study hall rather than a town hall.

    It saddens me that MPR is giving credence to the polaring right by posing this question at all. I expect more for my sustaining membership. If I wanted to expose myself to this idiocy I can change radio stations or turn on Fox News.

  • Mike

    I think it is shameful and a sad day when the administrators of our schools would consider denying our youth access to a positive message of our president. Our president has too much class to politicize this opportunity. This is clearly the far right of the Republican party trying to manipulate the opinions of the vast majority of the middle ground of Americans to their racist and ignorant thoughts. I am embarrassed to be living in the same society as such low-thinking people.

  • Jason

    Only in America is telling students to work hard and earn a good education considered brainwashing. “How dare you tell my son or daughter that he/she should stay in school.” No wonder our students are falling behind the rest of the world.

  • Jacò

    Trying to prevent the president from speaking to school children is one of the most disgusting anti-American acts I’ve seen in the 13 years of living in the US.

    This whole episode is also another great example of spineless moderates allowing themselves to be overrun by the savage right.

  • Sharon

    Of course the President of the United States should be able to address the children of our nation. I am amazed that there are some that would feel threatened by such a NON-ISSUE.

    Shame on those who would deny their children a once in a lifetime chance to hear from the President.. which I am sure will be a very uplifting, encouraging and empowering speech directed to them.

    We should all be grateful that President Obama (and past Presidents) have put forth so much effort and dedicated so much of themselves and their families to help better our County/World. Parents and School Administrators….is this how you want to thank them for their efforts, with ridiculous reactions like what we have heard of late?

  • Ben

    This is yet another example of our nation over thinking something that is not worthy of such attention. Perhaps if we started to work together, to respect the institutions of our own making and the people who hold office as part of those institutions, we would overcome the challenges of our times.

  • Joe Schaedler

    Of course the president should have direct access to the nation’s students.

    Regardless of his political leanings, his interaction inspires civic pride and unity, or at least a sense of self-worth and importance, among the children and adolescents who experience him.

    The president is always a better influence on children’s minds than innumerable other singers, athletes and actors they are routinely exposed to.

  • Shana

    This divisiveness is distressing, or is it the wretched history of our last president that is causing this reaction? After all, how could we hold up that horrendous grammer as an example for our children…

  • Peter

    Republicans are behaving like spoiled little children who’s favorite toy is on top of the fridge because they misbehaved. School’s are a place of indoctrination (indoctrination does nothave to be a bad word, it happens whether you like it or not, and “good” indoctrination, oh…like following the golden rule, is a social good) and the politcal system these children grow up in is not something they should not be shielded from. Obviously, a speech by a President could cross a line (I always cringe when President’s finish speeches with “God bless America”) but the office derserves deference and respect.

  • Beth

    I find it hard to believe that some would be opposed to this. What are they afraid of? Personally, I think the president’s address will provide many families with an opportunity to discuss their values and to help their kids understand why they agree or don’t agree with the president. What is wrong with having an open and honest discussion with our kids? Who cares if it was sparked by a presidential address. At least it gets us talking with our kids.

  • Cynthia

    It’s a great idea. It makes our President assessable, tells us he is interested in his constituents and shows he can relate to the day to day lives of the people he works for. In a country that values democracy, has seen how important it is to vote, values the need for compromise and negotiation, and the requirement that our children study civic education in various forms…it’s an excellent “teachable moment”

  • Steffanie

    Yes, our president should be able to address students. I still remember how inspiring it was to have George H.W. Bush address me and my fellow students when I was in Junior High. Knowing that the president is thinking about you and your peers is a great motovator for young minds.

    It makes me incredibly sad that parents would think that this is a disruption to the first day of school. When was the last time the first day of school was like every other day of school? It’s all about introductions to new environments, people and materials, why not have the president addressing students be part of that?


    Dito. He is our president, duely elected by popular vote. Agenda – all the President’s have had agendas, but they are opinions which can be analyzed with the guidance of teachers and parents. Discussion is good. Limiting access based upon fears and opposed opinions leads to ignorance.

  • Kami

    Of course the students should be able to see the President’s speech. The children in our schools will become voters and voters must be educated. The speech is an opportunity for the students to experience a President’s address while in an environment of learning.

    I do not understand why a teacher or Public school would disallow this. The government and the community pay for public schools with the intent of educating children. Why would we not want them to see the President speak?

  • moira heffron

    There is no reason for controversy. We should model and demonstrate respect for the office of President of the U.S. and his address to students. As to whether a school system needs to work with scheduling the viewing, that is an internal decision. But there is also something valuable about having a shared experience with the community of others beginning their school year!

  • David Abrams

    Of course the address should be broadcast in the schools.

    That there is any debate at all shows to how low a point human discourse has sunk in the past years. Folks are more concerned with attacks than they are with truth. They are more concerned with imposing their beliefs on others than (it seems) living their own beliefs.

    The last time I remember any meaningful presidential impact on school children was the President’s Fitness program of the 60’s. If our current president wishes to reach out to school children and urge them forward, what is the issue. Are folks worried he might look good and have a positive impact? If folks worried he might serve as a positive role model and that might blunt their attacks?

  • Paula

    Yes, he should, if he allows parents the opportunity to understand and be aware of his message.

    My first response to this plan was one of outrage, especially before the phrasing of the plan was changed. However, since the revision has been presented, my fears have been mollified, for the most part.

    If President Obama would release an outline or draft of his speech (perhaps send a copy to schools to allow teachers to print and give to parents, if they plan on showing the speech), parents would be able to vet the speech and decide whether or not it is something they want their children to hear.

    In short, I think much of this kerfuffle could have been avoided if the content of the speech, or at least an outline, was released with the lesson plan.

  • Sheri

    It is appropriate because this President is a former professor.

    This issue is a nonissue designed to distract from the very real policy problems facing the country that are 40 million Americans without health care and those of us with health care are not always able to afford it.

  • Mary

    Yes! Yes! Double YES! I cannot understand what the nay-sayers are afraid of. The President will be encouraging students to stay in school, set their personal bar high, and work hard to succeed. What more positive message than that could any president make to the students of this country? This is not political indoctrination. It is common sense.

    Conservatives are just mad because they didn’t think of it when their guy was at the helm. Well, too late. Now sit down and be quiet.

  • Lou

    You people are sad. I wonder how you will feel when a loaf of bread is $20 because inflation has skyrocketed due to the overspending of this president you adore. Oh, I know you will blame all the talk radio hosts. Will you all willingly sign your children up fo Obummer’s Civilian Force or do you even have children?

  • Jesse

    The NO answers to this question are absurd! In fact, I would contend that they are downright UNAMERICAN, truly! If people cannot see the educational, democratic or patriotic value in the students of the UNITED States of America viewing the speech of the President of the UNITED States of America, please leave. If those people have no respect for the leader of our nation, regardless of political leanings, they need to take a long hard look at why they live here.

    Yes, I know some of these people may have served our country well and believe that they are doing the right thing to contest this position. However, is the inflamatory nature that our youth are observing teaching positive ways of moving our nation forward? Why not peaceably view the speech and take positions on the President’s points and discuss. This is the only way to move the direction in a peaceful and AMERICAN way that contributes to the wonderful opportunities we have, politically, economically and educationally.

    If you can trust your children at school to be taught be people often completely unknown, you can surely allow your children to view the President’s speech, talking about American ideals and inspiring our youth to strive and succeed… to be productive people in society and possibly a future leader in our Nation, where people everywhere will honor the position and allowed to disagree with the message…

  • John Barobs

    Our nation’s president has a message about the importance of education for the students of our country. Our students should be able to hear that message regardless of who the president is and what party that president comes from. This is a non-controversy. Who are the ones really acting like children in this matter? Certainly not the students!

  • Cassandra

    Yes…he is the President. If parents disagree with what he says, that is perfectly okay; it would be a great opportunity to talk to your kids about what your values are, what you disagree with, and why you disagree. I am a mother (of a toddler) and if a President had some message for school children that I disagreed with (in total or part), I would encourage my son to watch and then open the conversation up to hear his thoughts and voice my opinion.

  • Linda

    To have a president step forward to promote education should be celebrated. If those opposed would stop to digest their sour grapes and just open their ears and minds, it’s just possible they might learn that education dispells fear – as President Franklin Roosevelt said, the only thing to fear is fear itself. Fear mongering is the approach of tyrants to control the fearful masses. Wise up folks.

  • Chris

    What a sad day this is when there is so much controversy over whether the president should be allowed to tell school children that he feels education is important.

    Our president is a prime example of how education can make a difference in your life. Why is it controversial for him to share this message with students?

  • clark

    No way. This is a pure politcal message to indoctriante the youth. Soon it will be join the young socialist league of amerika?

  • Tom

    Of course his speech should be heard.

    Who are these people? What are they thinking? First they whine because no one takes personal responsibility, then the President says he wants to speak to students to encourage personal responsibility and the fear-mongering begins. It is shameful.

    What a wonderful civics lesson this will be. Of course the message shouldn’t be political, but we need more of this kind of engagement. I can imagine and only be heartened by the myriad discussions that will follow. If it encourages even one more student to stay in school, work harder, and be a more engaged citizen it will be worthwhile.

  • Daniel Graham

    This whole phony controversy is absurd and an embarrassment! OF COURSE the President of the US should address school children and encourage them to work hard and learn much! This has ALWAYS been the case. Where was Pres. George W. Bush at the very moment airliners were crashing into the World Trade Towers in New York? In a public school classroom reading to children! Where was the “controversy” then? Pres. Obama is our only President. He is a Dad, and he feels strongly about the importance of education. He has made it clear from the outset that children and educational issues matter to his administration. Those who object are the people who are forcing “politics” into this discussion.

  • Harris


    Every other president has had “direct access” to the nations students why would President Obama not be granted the same. Why would it be acceptable for former President GW Bush to say this to our children

    “I am encouraging school children to write letters of friendship to Muslim children in different

    countries. Our college students and those who travel abroad for business or vacation can all

    be ambassadors of American values.” during his address on November 8, 2001? I think that these people who are objecting the President Obama’s proposed back to school address are trying to promote their own agenda and the administrators of the schools should view the objections as just that. Why cave to the few – if parents object then keep your children home.

  • Sue

    Yes. Mr. Obama IS the President. He is not running for office. Why would you deny students access to hearing a speech from President Obama any more than you would prevent them from hearing from any other President?

  • Polly

    I am angry that the politics of fear has led people to so disrespect the President. President Obama is the president of All Americans and should be respected as such. He has done nothing to lead us to think that he will exploit this historic moment. Our children need to see and hear how far we have come as a country. I am sorry that idealogues and racists are spoiling this moment.

  • Ben B

    Oh this society can be exhausting. The ignorance is astounding, the narrow mindedness is numbing..Please, please focus on something that really matters for once.

  • sadie mckinley

    I have been reassured by the overwhelming number of responses saying that of course the President of the United States should be able to address our returning students. Ideology has gotten way out of hand when this non-issue becomes an issue. I think President Obama said it best when he noted that we are not a red or blue America but the United States of America. I hope that President Obama is able to inspire our students to work hard this school year.

  • Jim!!!

    Yes, absolutely, the President of the United States may address the nation’s school children.

    It is clearly thinly veiled racism behind the efforts of those who oppose it.

  • Curt lee

    George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan both gave speeches to students. I don’t remember any outrage then.

  • ML Rice

    How exciting that we have a president who is so interested in education that he is willing to directly inspire students at the beginning of the school year. President Obama is one of the most recognized-by-children leaders in the world. This is not about politics. This is about leading our nation.

  • Mary Kokernot

    We are becoming a nation of lunatics!! How can anyone not realize that this President has a better-than-usual sense of time and place and think that his message would be anything but a call to take education seriously? Young people who have spent several months hooked into video games and tweets ant twitters definitely need a “call to arms” about how important this thing called school is. What an honor to have our nation’s leader want to remind them of how important these next nine months are for them.

    All I can think about those saying “no” is that this fear-based culture has turned them into absolute control freaks who are no longer able to trust that someone they are being carefully schooled to distrust could have any worthwhile messages. They are losing touch with reality and will surely transfer their fears to their children. A very sad state of affairs.

  • Mary Jane Sieben

    we have become a strident, uncivil and increasingly cynical population that allows wild and uncouth accusations to pass as legitimate discussion. Our institutions and especially the presidency has become diminished and tarnished by the constant negative “talk” that barks out 24/7 on TV, not to mention the vicious, mean spirited viral emails continuously circulated.

    In closing: of course an address to the nation’s children is allowable and is a teachable moment ( providing a text of the talk has been given beforehand )

  • Laura

    (To be said with a drippingly sarcastic tone) How could we possibly subject our children to a message from the President that they should take responsibility for their success in education and later lives by taking school seriously, applying themselves to their studies and attending at least through high school!? I agree that anyone who thinks this message is both partisan and harmful to children should have their kids stay home “sick” from school – and why limit it to Sept. 8? Heck, just keep them home where they’re safe from scary things like “ideas,” “facts,” and “different opinions!”

  • Katherine

    I think it is great for our nation’s youth to hear a positive “Stay In School” message from our president!

  • Jane

    Just when I think the right wing extremists can’t go any further, they hit a new low. I’m amazed at the level of fear, hatred and ignorance in this country. When it turns out all Obama is going to say is “Work hard. Do your best,”, how will those people spin it? Shameful, absolutely shameful.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The only reason this is a problem in Minnesota is that the speech is scheduled for the very first day of the school year for most of us. This would not be a problem if the resort-owners lobby weren’t bribing… er, persuading the legislature to keep that stupid law forbidding public schools starting before Labor day.

    Other than that, this whole controversy is manufactured by a bunch of hotheads who go looking for things to complain about.

  • Neal Rovick

    It’s a sad and disturbing commentary on the degeneration of the political atmosphere when people fear that a president will express ideas in a speech that will endanger or misinform their children to the extent that the speech must be suppressed.

    When has this level of irrational fear been reached before?

  • Mac

    I trust that this is not an unfamiliar expression : “Can’t see the forest for the trees”.

    The story is not about the Presidential speech, but instead the ability (and energy) effectively used to denounce the speech such that the White House has now changed some of the wording on the Department of Education website.

    Those that denounce this speech, do not know what the Obama message is. The White House has announced that the speech will be released beforehand … and the message is to be about staying in school … not about healthcare reform, etc. Also, the telecast is voluntary … no school has to participate.

    No, the “forest” is being missed.

    From tax protests to town hall shout-downs, there is a “spark” that has lit a flame that has awakened people to call their school districts in protest.

    There is a real movement that is having an effect.

    The sad thing is that these people are being manipulated … sure they may be angry about taxes or expansion of government, but the people that are pulling the strings are doing it on a purely political basis. When President Obama cannot talk to schoolchildren about the importance of educating and achieving goals, there is something seriously wrong with the manipulators motivation.

    It is a testament to the power of the conservative movement that through the mass emailing of stories and the spoken words of Beck/Lindbaugh/Thompson/Hannity that telephone calls are made demanding that school officials take action.

    Lastly, it’s comical that some are proclaiming that this is waste of valuable school time when over the next sixteen weeks various Minnesota Viking football players will be attending various school assemblies with the expressed message of staying in school and achieving goals … yet some of those same players will not be college graduates and may have had run-ins with the law. They’ll be cheered by the students and the parents will want to hear what the player said … and yet some of these same parents are denouncing the President for the same message.

  • Debby Magnuson

    Absolutely YES! It is time that the majority of common sense Americans SPEAK UP and take back the reins of public discourse. Allowing the right wing to dominate the media is harming us all and making us a fearful, dumb populace. Shame on all of us who know better for letting them get away with it.

  • Bert

    This is a pathetic attempt by the right to muddy the waters. They are still smarting from the wupping the “Community Organizer” gave them in the last election. With all that we are facing as a nation this is what they are worried about?

  • David

    Most certainly – the Secretary of Education reports to the President regardless of who is in office. Disallowing the President from communicating with public students is a major severance of the civic process.

    The outcry we are hearing, however, is merely a symptom of a serious problem; paranoid fear perpetuated by organizations who benefit politically by creating the notions “threat” and “crisis.” Germany succumbed to these tactics 70-some years ago.

  • barb

    Of course. He is well spoken, educated, and believes education is important. What could he say that would scar a child..They may remember theevent and tell their children and grandchildren about the day the President spoke to them.

  • Ellen


    As a high school student in Minnesota I cannot remember a time a president has spoken to me, specifically, in my lifetime. I am personally thrilled to hear that Obama has not forgotten about my generation, and is taking time out of his busy workday to speak to my peers and me.

    I do not undestand why there is so much controversy, if president Obama can speak to the other members of America why can he not speak to us? Our sucess and achievements will define America in the future, the policies created today will be with the younger generations longer than with the older generations. I believe that motivating the kids of America to do well will be something we will not regret in the long run.

  • Marilyn Tkachuk

    When I went to school (age 61), the current president’s picture was hung in classrooms next to George Washington’s. Important presidential addresses (e.g., civil rights) and political events (e.g., Sputnik, Kennedy’s assassination) were either listened to over the loudspeakers or on the radio and discussed the next day in the appropriate class. Presidents are the ultimate role model and they hold the highest position our youth can aspire to. How wonderful that President Obama takes the time to emphasize the importance of education by speaking directly to our youth, thus also helping them to feel a valued part of society.

    An added comment: Those who disrespect the president merely because they disagree with him on some issues only undermine the ffabric of our society by modeling behaviors that encourage young people to act inappropriately.

  • Reid

    As a public school teacher here in the Metro area, I am appalled that so many people have been advocating against our President speaking in our classrooms. This debate is teaching our students that the Office of the President is not to be respected and that if you disagree with a viewpoint, it is ok to ignore it. Our students need to be taught that no matter who is sitting in the Office of the President, our country will respect them.

  • Jim!!!

    And now even our Governor has jumped the shark.

    Absolutely stunning.

  • Jo Ann Hendricks

    Absolutely he should speak to the schools!And if he could put the Supreme Court members and his cabinet in the background and introduce them maybe our students would actually learn who our government leaders are!

  • susan M Groff

    It’s a disgrace to even think of denying our students the opportunity to hear an address from our President. Som schools seem to have less of an understanding of government all the time. President Obama has never given us any reason to think he would not give a very civic minded address of encouragement and hope for the future.

  • Sarcastic Mike

    Well of course Reagan and the Bushes spoke to students. At least they weren’t lying liberals who wanted to indoctrinate our children. Those Presidents had something called ETHICS and FAMILY VALUES, things Obama knows nothing about.

    It’s a short road from Obama speaking to our students in school to the little red book.

  • Nick

    To answer the question asked- Yes. Obviously, yes.

    Any other President of the U.S. has done as much, and it has never been an issue.

  • Laura

    Seriously?! People are opposed to the PRESIDENT speaking to their children about the importance of learning and education? This is not a policy speech. Its an opportunity to teach our children about civics, for the president to serve as an example of how far a good education can take you. Do these people who are protesting not realize that they are protesting against education? I predict that there will be no “agenda” whatsoever in this speech, and it will be apparent just how close minded these protesters (and the conservative hysteria machines who feed them) really are.

  • Jim Gust

    Of course President Obama should have access to students. He is the President of all the United States and all its citizens. As a retired educator of thirty-four years I’m astounded that this hasn’t been done before. It appears that Obama values education and its attainment. I find it refreshing that finally educators are being supported with a positive message. What is so bad about encouraging students to be the best that they can be and value learning as the best way to achieve a successful life? I became an educator to fight ignorance in all its forms by passing on knowledge. Thank you Mr. President for your support in achieving this mission.

  • anna

    This argument is infuriating. Since when do we “debate” whether or not the president is able to speak to our children? Are we so afraid of our own ability to communicate our beliefs to our children that we can’t allow them to hear any potentially oposing views? The rabid disrespect of President Obama on this issue at every turn is shameful. He was elected by the majority of Americans to serve on our behalf, and he deserves the same respect and consideration that past presidents have enjoyed when it was time for them to share thier views.

  • Kolean Pitner

    The President of the United States wants to speak directly to students about taking personal responsibility for their education. How can a POSITIVE message like this be twisted into such mean spirited partisan opposition? Why is his genuine effort to emphasize the value of education to our young people seen as a bad thing? I do not understand where this disrespectful hostility is coming from. It is unfair and unproductive.

  • Big D

    I think it is preposterous to even consider not allowing the President Of The United States of America to speak directly with students and welcome them back to school. This is not a partisan debating issue, it is a gesture of kindness and inclusion , which will be very motiviational to the students. Get over it, the election is over for another 3+ years and we should be trying to pull together as a nation instead of clouding the issues in the interest of politics.

  • Judy

    Does it all center around that he is “black” and that there is a loud, racist minority that just can’t handle that? Are we back to the sixties and all that anger and hatred?

  • Jim!!!

    My question to our Governor who has stated that he opposes access to the president’s speech –

    Mr. Pawlenty, do you pledge as a part of your campaign for President that you will never wish to address our nation’s school children?

  • Bridget Jordan

    Yes, he absolutely should be allowed to speak to students of the US. If anything, let the kids get a break from class for 10-15 minutes and feel like an important person that can make a difference with their life.

  • Karin Collins

    I can not believe that the right wing has sunk so low that the President of the United States can not address the students of this nation on the importance of their education without having them raise a stink! And believe me this does stink to high heaven.

  • Chris

    Yes. The President should have the ability to address the children of the country to encourage them excel in their studies, and fulfill their potential.

    It is unfortunate that politicians like Tim Pawlenty take it as an opportunity to take partsan positions and try to maintain his relevancy.

  • Cary

    Yes, our President is making a non-political effort to promote children staying in school and encouraging them to excel while there. This is the sort of civic-minded instruction that huge numbers of public officials have expressed in the past.

    It is very sad that the remnants of the Republican Party are now so reactionary that they will encourage school children to no longer respect the office of the President. They would, of course, be crying treason if the opposite party reacted the same way.

    By the way, just because a tiny portion of the populace expresses outrage, not every event in public life is a Controversy.

  • Mike

    Just to play devil’s advocate, how would the situation be different if this were President Bush speaking to students?

    I think without a motivated right-wing maching working overtime to object to anything and everything the president does, this wouldn’t even be on the radar.

  • Just me

    I don’t understand how making a decision concerning what your own children is exposed to is anybody else’s business. If you admit the truth that the more the government gets involved in education, the worse the test scores get, maybe it would be a good idea to separate the two. Every time we try to impose our personal beliefs on each other, or force our beliefs on others by legislation, the further we get from liberty. Once we all tow the line, and believe the same way, where will new ideas come from? Allow the speech, but if parents wish to keep their children home, leave them alone! The name calling solves nothing, and we might be well served to consider what lesson we teach the kids when they observe how we are behaving.

  • Sue

    I believe that it is important for our children to be able to hear what the President has to say. It demonstrates his regard for our students, the future leaders of our country, while showing our students that he is everyone’s president, not just president to those who voted for him. If parents are concerned, they should also listen so they can discuss with their children the differences in points of view. It turns the whole thing into a teaching moment.

  • John Schmid

    I don’t recall any outrage about or discussion of politics in the classroom when G.W. Bush was talking to children in a classroom during the attack of 9-11-2001. Although children will have to behave differently than their parents if our planet is to remain a viable place for humans to live, I believe this education should be done by enlightened teachers not polititions.n keep polititions out iof the classroom.



  • Deb Staley


    This is a wonderful experience for students, to hear the President of the United States of America to speak about the importance of education.

    And it seems that students might look back and say, yes that was the speech I was not allowed to hear, because someone was afraid that he might say something that they didn’t like. hmmm, Could that mean that there are people that do not want our children to be educated? Do not want our children to be able to be critical thinkers?

  • Christine Olson

    Of course we should air the talk! How wonderful to have a special message from our president on the importance of studying and getting a good education. I would not have believed it possible for there to be any debate about it, but there seems to be no bounds on how crazy the crazies are and how they are capable of influencing people. When G.W. Bush was president it was hard to respect him for a lot of things but he was still the president and we are still Americans and respect for the office of the presidency is necessary, and with that in mind I would have welcomed him speaking about the value of education. Hopefully when the summer break has passed the nation will regain some sanity.

  • Windflower Waters

    We are talking about the President of the United States, our president, not the leader of some special interest group or a rogue foreign nation. I think that office still needs to hold a sense of honor and respect regardless of which party currently holds it. Any school which is concerned about divisive issues being presented should take this opportunity to organize a student debate on the issues, taking full advantage of the educational opportunity.

    That said, it seems like avoiding the first day of school would have been a good idea.

  • Lisa Bachmeier

    The fact that there is even an issue about keeping the President from giving our students a pep talk about hard work and achievement is sad to me. It shows how low we have become and to what lengths some people will not accept in a dignified manner the outcome of our democratic process. I would be very proud to have the President speak to our children. Having the children percieve these ridiculous and childish objections is only teaching them to disrespect the office of the President. What a shame.

  • Margo Marks

    Who doesn’t want to encourage students to be successful learners? Only those that fear that an informed, knowledgeable, educated,

    people are not easily manipulated.

  • Mary

    Absolutely! I would think parents would consider it a priviledge to have the president address their children about the importance of education and working hard in school.

    Making this into an issue is simply fear mongering by those who will do/say anything to portray Obama in a negative light.

  • Michele Kunz

    We are talking about the President of the United States of America addressing the children of this nation on the importance of education in their lives. Are parents really going to tell their children that they do not want them listening to the President? What kind of a civics lesson is that? I applaud President Obama’s efforts to reach out to the future of our country and am sure it will be a very uplifting, empowering speech. Shame on those spreading vile inuendo and untruths about the intent of our President! This is a teaching moment for our children! I wish more presidents had taken the time to do this. As it turns out, the last president to do this was Pres. Bush (the elder) in 1991.

    I don’t remember being outraged at that when my children were in school! I am also outraged at the time spent by school administrators dealing with parents who fear for their childrens well-being if they are “subjected” to this speech. Shame, shame, shame!

  • Bob

    Gibbs is right, this is the silly season and our governor is right in the middle of it. Why does everything the President says become political?

    Governor, you’re wrong. His speech is wanted and needed. Our kids need to hear from our leaders that school and studying is important. If you want to do something to help our schools, governor, find a way to fund them so our kids have a fair shot at competing in a world market and stop running for President by knocking the President’s attempt to motivate our kids on my tax nickel.

  • Pamela

    I have never been more disturbed about the state of our nation than I am today. It is unbelievable to me that ANYONE could question the President of the United States’ right to speak to American citizens, regardless of their age. It is one thing to question a leader’s ideas and completely another to try to censor them, especially in a country that holds free speech so dear. Don’t these crtics spewing their irrationale vitriole realize that they are not just damaging Obama, but the very office of the president and that the damage will not recede when Obama leaves office? While I strongly believe in the right to criticize our government, I am dismayed by the complete lack of responsibility some current “journalists” take for their thinly-veiled hate-mongering. They make no attempt to support their outrageous statements with facts abnd are more interested in their ratings than the welfare of the american citizenry. Shame on them! I have contacted my child’s principal to encourage him to make sure that all students have the ability to hear Obama’s speech, should they so choose. What better message for my child to hear on the first day of school than that her president supports her and is proud of her efforts.

  • S. Johnson

    I understand why people are nervous. This is totally different than watching the president drive by in a motorcade or speak in a public forum. I can’t find an instance at any other time in history when one of our presidents spoke specifically and ONLY to the children of our nation. I feel that the office of our president needs to be respected and we need to teach our children to value the importance of our leaders. I would, however, feel more comfortable if it were televised in the evening where parents can sit and watch the president with their children and discuss the speech. It is unnerving when we don’t know exactly what will be discussed in the speech (other than valuing education). And we don’t know how teachers will discuss the speech with the children afterward and the slant he/she will put on it. I checked out the classroom activities put out by the White house and think it odd that it concentrates on how important the president is and how the children should listen and do what their leaders ask. The activities page does not concentrate on education as the main source of discussion. Every sentence mentions President Obama and his importance. I think it is fabulous that the president wants to speak to our children about education. Who better than the president to do this. I do hope that it isn’t done in the spirit of “the president knows best and follow him no matter what he says.”

  • Scott

    Is this planned speech more political than president Bush’s “evil-doers” nationally televised speech leading up to the Iraq war? Unlikely.

  • Michelle

    If I was a kid in school I would feel very special that the president of my country wanted to welcome me back to school.

    I think I would also be thoroughly confused by this discussion and why people would not want the president to talk to me.

  • Cat

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO Why? Because we know that the pres is pushing his socialistic agenda in ALL of his policies and now he’s after the kids. America OPEN YOUR EYES before we lose our sovernity!

  • Vernon E Swing

    Yes. I can think of no better way to restore the respect to the office that it is entitled to than by teaching the next generation civics at an early age. I’m sure the no voters say so with an eye to their own political agenda.

  • CW

    NO NO NO “You can’t trust him!” PERIOD!!!

  • karen

    Pu-LEEZE! There is no real issue. Who complained when Bush read to the grade schoolers on September 11, 2001 and earlier? Obama is EVERYONE’S president in this country, including our children. Why shouldn’t he speak to them?

  • Heather

    Absolutely. Reagan did. HW did. So should Obama. Why not? Is someone spreading the rumor that the speech will consist solely of a graphic description of gay sex or something?

  • Jess

    I think this entire ‘debate’ is ludicrous. I remember multiple times growing up when President Regan’s addresses and speeches were broadcast in my school and at the start of school. Frankly, it is unpatriotic to treat a president, any president, who wants to take the time to communicate with our students to encourage them to study and treat education with importance with anything but respect.

    This is not a political speech, it’s a motivational speech. And I don’t think anyone in good conscience can deny that Obama is a fantastic motivational speaker.

    Here we have a president who values education, who wants to instill its importance and reverence in our students as they begin a new year and he’s being criticized yet again.

    Remember that Bush was sitting in a classroom with kids on 9/11. That was far more direct contact. This is a brief address. Good grief. I’m just disgusted with this country right now.

  • Mike

    I think it is terrible that the President is indoctrinating children with subversive messages like “work hard and do a good job in school.” My children are only allowed to hear messages that encourage them to slack off and learn as little as possible.

    I will be so proud of when they finally drop out of school!

  • mel

    In 1989 Bush ! (as opposed to Mr. All Hat, No Cattle) addressed the nation’s school children . He detailed in some gory detail the horrors of drug addiction. It was all part of his effort to get more funding for the ineffectual “war on drugs.”

    Not a peep. I guess there wasn’t a Fox News demonizing the President then?

  • Daniel

    For the President to speak to the children is a wonderful idea.

    Of course for the republicans to make an issue out of it with their conspiracy theories, and spreading of hates that is shameful. And for our governor to jump on the bandwagon as worse than shameful.

  • Jessica

    If we simply regurgitate others’ scare tactics, and words, then I ask who are the “indoctrinated?”

  • Susan

    Yes. Our children need to hear from our leaders. Hopefully this will begin a tradition for all future presidents to address the nation’s youth at the beginning of each school year.

  • Phil Berbig

    He is the President and he has the right to address anyone he needs to or wants to. I have the feeling if George Bush had done the same thing, the people protesting now would have had no problem with it.

    Like so many of my friends on the right side of politics told me when I complained about President Bush, “He was legitimately elected, so accept it, admit it and support him.”

  • Karen in St. Paul

    I find your question to be flawed: “Should the president have direct access to the nation’s students?” sounds a little shifty, as if you are trying to stir something up.

    How about: “Should the POTUS address public school students?”

    He is the duly-elected President of the United States, and he wants to say hi to America’s students.

    What’s so bad about that?

    Can you imagine? You are thinking how nice it would be to welcome kids back to school, wish them luck, and remind them how important a good education is. You feel that, as the leader of the country who also has two school-aged children, it’s your duty to be a good example.

    And then this hot mess happens.

    My thanks to President Obama for his continued even temperament in the face of such hateful nonsense.

  • Bob Seidel

    If Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush made similar speeches to schoolchildren, as MPR reported, the only reason for opposition to Obama’s doing the same must be rooted in political or racist attitudes that the American electorate repudiated in the last election. Certainly the President of the United States is providing leadership in encouraging students to make the best of their educational opportunities.

  • Dustin Carlson

    This issue is ridiculous. MPR just covered Pawlenty’s comments from this morning on the matter. I’d like to ask the Governer to make a pledge that were he to become President, he would never make a broad communication to America students and certainly do not indoctrinate youth with themes like work hard, study hard, and stay in school, make you country better. Also, I’d like to someone’s thoughts on whether President Bush was also on questionable ground when he was sitting in an elementary school classroom– talking to students– on September 11, 2001.


  • Bruce Todd Johnson

    My daughter teaches middle school in the South Bronx where thousands of students were inspired by the election of President Obama and the appointment of Sonia Sotemayor to the Supreme Court. Many of those students face very tough obstacles but maintain, like millions of others, a strong dedication to schooling.

    What message do you suppose the hyper-partisan wing nuts — like Governor Pawlenty — are sending to those students?

  • Our nation has fallen behind in education.

    The president wants to address students directly to motivate and encourge them to strive harder.

    This is not political.

    This is not mind control.

    I am saddened that people are afraid to have their children hear this.

  • Norm

    As a conservative who voted for McCain, I can think of nothing better than for Obama to talk to my kids on the first day of school. It allows our family to have discussions about politics and the messages we recieve. I don’t want to shield my kids from messages I don’t like; I’d rather they experience those messages so that thay can become critical thinkers. Of course I want them to believe as I do, but I’d be more proud of my son if he were a liberal able to defend his views than a conservative who can’t.

  • Shannon LeClair

    As a St.Paul Public school teacher I welcome support and encouragement from the President of The United States to begin our school year. I do not see this as a political agenda and am surprised by those who do. To me the importance here is that a person of high public office with great esteem is recognizing the first day of school as something important.

    Shannon LeClair

  • todd

    My concern is that in this highly charged partisan environment, that it will be difficult for the President not to insert his “agenda” into his speech.

    This speech should have been set up much earlier,allowing school districts and parents to review the content of it and come to a decision whether or not to air it.

    I don’t have a problem with it per se. I just don’t want the President, or anyone else bypassing my role as a parent. If the speech is purely non-political as purported,then fine.

    I will try to review the pseech before Tuesday and decide then if my kids can view it.

  • Audrey

    We want young people in this country to be more interested in their communities and the political process. We want them to grow up to be responsible, caring, members of society who want to vote, and who care about the people that run our country. But we don’t want to president to be able to talk to kids? How old is okay? When they are 18? Kids need to care about politics before then… it’s their country, too, even if they can’t vote until they are adults.

  • Ray

    President Obama has genuine academic credits and achievements. Right wing science deniers and other “conservative” anti-intellectuals lately evident in the Health Insurance “debate” are probably afraid that Obama has a positive contribution to make to young student’s lives. Naturally they would pull their children out of school to prevent that.

  • Paul

    Obama should be allowed to speak – how bizzare!

    I’d like to know how many who are complaining are NOT republicans. While I thought Bush Jr was a complete idiot (with all due respect), I would not complain about him taking the opportunity to speak as I am sure his speech would at least be intended to benefit the children. I would not be worried about him brainwashing my children AT ALL.

    Of course, if it will upset plans of those who are doing their own brainwashing of their children, then I could understand their concerns.

    This paranoid approach is making the republican party (and its members who are supporting a ban) appear to be evolving into a radical group.

  • susan

    I remember hearing about President Kennedy when he was shot, I was in 2nd grade, and it was a significant moment in my life, I think we need to have more respect for all of our presidents even if we don’t agree with everything they say. Students feel important when they are included in these conversations, or in this case, a message from their president.

  • Nancy

    Of course he should have access. As I said in my email to Governor Pawlenty — I believed GWB was evil incarnate, but I would never bar my 4th grader from hearing him speak as president.

    If you disagree with Obama, you COULD use his speech to talk about your values with your children. Imagine that!

  • Jeanne L.

    What is wrong with telling students that they should work hard in school and to reach for the stars? As a parent, I encourage my 2 daughters everyday to study hard, pay attention in class and be respectful of their fellow students and the teachers/administration in the school. I don’t know what is happening when that message, from whoever, should be quelled! Is that America????? Really????

  • Kristen

    Clearly, Pawlenty is just cynically positioning himself for his planned run in 2012 , with this latest in a series of ridiculous disrespectful whining comments over a non-issue. The rest of the Obama-hater/rightwingers predictably fall in line, with their typical tactic of just throwing mud randomly & desperately until something sticks.

    The comments on this page run counter to the media circus, and are overwhelmingly rational and positive: as in, why wouldn’t any student be honored to receive a direct address from the President of the United States???? Shouldn’t Pawlenty show a little respect to the President?

    Why is MPR giving these nut jobs the time of day? What is the matter with these people, Pawlenty included? & Give me a break: believe me, every time I wrote Norm Coleman, Pawlenty or Bush, I got on a “mailing list”!!!

  • Ben

    This is an grand opportunity to open discussion of the politics of our nation and the world. The schools are there to educate. Discussion encourages people to think. Students could only benefit from this.

  • Lisa Cohen

    We live in a democracy. Part of education is learning about democracy so you can grow up and participate in the democarcy.

    I can think of nothing better than to hear directly from the President about education and democracy. If you disagree with the president, hearing from him and learning the process of discussing difference in a constructive manner is another key to successful democracy.

    I welcome this opportunity for my children to learn.

  • Allan

    Of course he should. I consider it unpatriotic to even question the president’s right to speak to this countires students. Those who are calling for this ban probably drape themselves in the flag and call themselves patriotic (but only if it is their viewpoint that is being put forward).

    And the question of prescreening the text or the video; I call that prior constraint. I don’t think we want to go there.

  • Dodger

    Regardless what schools and parents decide, kids can watch the speech on or YouTube.

    So, school boards, what’ll it be? A civics lesson in the controlled environment of your classroon, or willy-nilly on the Internet?

  • Sirri Nomo

    We are not doing our children a favor by showing NO respect for the office of the President. Our children need to learn more about democracy which is to accept this president as long as he is president and then put someone else in office the next time. We can not afford to hate him enough to destroy the fabric of our country. The USA will live even after the current President leaves office. Please grow up and stop this destructive cycle.

    America can not lead the world with such ignorance…they are watching us.!!

  • YES! I’m from Fergus Falls, MN and our district decided to not show the speech live. So we are having a CSPAN party! 11am our home, where our children and their friends can see a speech from our national leader that is at their level. Our kids have gone door knocking with us, marched in parades for local candidates and are versed in how a government for the people, by the people works. We hope that they learn that a republic is about give and take, and that they choose to be more than takers.

  • Amy Mars

    I think students should have this debate and then decide.

  • Bob – Lakeville

    Yes he should be allowed to address the students. I’d say the same if it was GW Bush (whom I do not regard highly).

    The right seems better at complaining than governing.

    My concern is how we are going to get anything hard accomplished when people can’t even get together on simple innocuous items like this.

  • PS We expect our girls to use their own minds to decide if they like what Obama has to say.

  • I believe that Americans with loyalty to this country and the purposes and principles of the Constitution of the United States of America support the President of this country addressing the youth of this country. They’re citizens as well and this president has indicated his belief in young people as 100% of our future. Letting them know that the way to a strong future for us all is through their own education and the importance of staying in school and working doesn’t sound subversive to me. It smacks of downright “Americanism.” Those who eradicate fear and suspicion will agree with this. there’s no substitute for truth! “try it. You’ll like it!”

  • Rip Stauffer

    Of course, he should, for this purpose. What are we, Kansas? Are the right wingers afraid that their kids are going to hear something reasonable and undo all their parents’ careful demonizing at home?

  • Dave

    Of course he should address the children, just like Republican Presidents have…..and I echo the sentiments of Karen above…one reason I voted for Barak Obama was his even temper and reasonableness in the face of such ridiculous hate as this. I am extremely disappointed in Governor Pawlenty’s comments. I agree that much of this vitriol against the President is based on race, and I am surprised Gov Pawlenty is hopping on this bandwagon. I actually was considering voting for McCain when it looked like he might pick Pawlenty as his running mate, regarding our GOV as a reasonable moderate Republican. Barak Obama is black, and he is our duly elected president, the crazy Republicans need to get used to that (For god’s sake where are the sane Republicans these days??? )…brown people will be a majority soon, quit whining, go back to work, and find sane candidates to run…

  • Cynthia Niemann

    The schools should be honored to have the president give a personal message to the children to study hard and stay in school. Our schools need all support they can get. What better support could you get then to have the President encouraging students. Many children don’t listen to their parents. They respond better to someone they can look up to. If this changed the life of only one child, it would be worth the effort and cost.

  • Marti Nelson

    In the history of the United States, portraits of our Presidents have been hung on the walls of public schools. I remember standing and “saluting” the flag with the pledge of allegiance each morning (I was a child of the 1960s and 1970s public education). We adhered to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, and we were expected to know about our nations history, including the major events of the day — presidential events included. If the President of our United States wants to send a message to our nation’s public school children via new technology, I wholeheartedly encourage it. He is our nation’s President, and no matter what our political beliefs, no matter what side of the hot issues we stand, our children should be (and are in MY house) taught that the President is the elected leader of our Nation. I think it’s wonderful that he wants to record a message to kids … to remind them to stay in school, work hard, study and be active. Those are positive messages for all people, not veiled messages of a political agenda. And, if by chance a school child who happens to look a little more like Barak Obama than George Bush or Bill Clinton gets the message and sees that her future could be like his… well, that’s wonderful. I hope our school district chooses to show the message to our kids. Honestly, I’d expect nothing less.

  • Kari

    When was the last time you remember a president -Democrat or Republican- speaking directly to youth, if ever, let alone on the first day of school? Many politicians think of the here and now. With President Obama looking to the future by sending positive school messages to kids – he may just help many students make yet another connection to the political process in America, not unlike when we watched his historic inauguration in January.

    At school, we constantly talk about goals, dreams, hopes and plans-especially on the first day. Having an elected official give this message as well will make a perfect tie-in on September 8th. A previous comment described that schools are not political places. In fact, schools were created in part to teach/maintain the democratic process and status quo. Schools may not be “political” per se, but we sure inform students on these processes regularly.

    Teachers every day act as mediators and discussion monitors of-hopefully working to have multiple perspectives shared. Give us the credit to handle the comments and questions that may appear.

  • Marsha Durkin

    Yes! That some people would automatically be in opposition to anything President Obama says or does is extremely dishartening for the future of our country. His message and example for our children should be applauded!

  • njjellis

    Of course the President should address school students.

    Those who are still fuming about his election

    should get over it….

    To repeat the phrase I heard after the Bush administration took over and over…


    I love it now for the first time in a LONG time

    I am proud of my country!

  • Bea Jones

    Absolutely, positively YES! Have those who choose to spread fear and dispersion cast so much doubt and anxiety that we forget to honor the office of the presidency as part of our civic responsibility? Have we not progressed from our history that we allow fear to overrun our intellect? Please note it was on this day, September 4, 1957, that Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent black students from attending Central High School in Little Rock.

  • Norm P

    Alas, I think most of us belong to the choir. There is not much of any debate going on here as there are very few voices from the other side. I guess few dissenters listen to NPR…maybe there’s a right wing website we can voice our opinion on!

  • Steve

    ABSOLUTELY NO !!!!!!!!!

  • Jinny Berkopec

    Should President Obama address our students live on Tuesday – no. It just isn’t necessary.

  • K P Moberg

    I cannot believe we’re wasting time on this nonsense. He’s the President of the United States, and the executive head of the government that funds our children’s education. He should be denied the opportunity to address the people who are the future of our nation?! Don’t be stupid. Of course he should have direct access to our students, almost all of whom aren’t even of voting age, so why would he make it political?

    If I had a school-aged child, I would be thrilled if the president (whether or not I agreed with his policies) would deign to take the time to deliver a welcome back to school message to my son or daughter, and instill in them a love of learning and an inspiration to be the best they can. I mean, Obama is one of the most skilled and persuasive orators of our time – if anyone’s going to get kids to stay in school, it’s this guy.

  • PJ

    President Obama is OUR President, what a wonderful teachable moment. Whether you voted for him or not, he’s not addressing you, he’s addressing our nations youth. Let’s give our nations youth more credit, they usually see through adults. Mr. Pawlenty, school board’s and Superintendent’s who do not enable this opportunity for students to understand our Democracy really should question their continued service in those positions. Oh, Mr. Pawlenty you aren’t running for Governor, my mistake, well even if you become President and wished to speak to our nation’s children…I would support that! Even though I disagree with you!

  • jensen

    Absolutely not. The Germans gave Hitler access to their children and some of us still remember what happened to them.

  • RMC

    Of course he should be able to. He is the president of the whole United States, not just Democrats. This could be the start of a wonderful tradition of US presidents (republican and democrat) taking enough interest in our children’s education to welcome them back to school each year. What a great tradition this could become! Assuming that the speech focuses on education and not policy, I’d support all presidents doing the same thing every September. If he was going to “indoctrinate our kids with socialist propaganda,” why is he releasing the speech a day beforehand? Come on people!

  • Maddy

    I think this is a great opportunity for the President to show the students in this country that they matter enough for him to set aside time to speak to them to encourage them and show them the importance of education. I continue to be disappointed by our country’s polarization and the cynicism that opposition to the President’s speech to students represents.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I rember the uproar from the right when a few nutcases on the left compared GWB to Hitler. Now it’s the nutcases on the right comparing Obama to Hitler. Where’s the uproar?

  • LAM

    The President having access to children? Let’s not forget Pres. Bush was reading to school children when he learned of the World Trade Center disaster. What about the Bush first ladies being in classrooms reading to children and giving speeches at schools? Were there efforts equated with Hitler, brainwashing, and all the other hysterical comments made by conservatives? GROW UP and stop using everything as a political tool! We should be proud that our President wants to take the time to tell our children to study hard and that school is important! If that’s socialism, bring it on!

  • Steve the Cynic

    Imagine what the world would be like if people got this worked up about things that actually mattered!

  • Tom

    A reasonably thoughtful reflection on this question should reveal it’s absurdity. I can’t believe that we even have to consider a question of this nature. This is the President of The United States.

    Do a little research. President George W. Bush is quoted in an August 3rd, 2005 Washington Post Article By Peter Baker and Peter Slevin entitled “Bush Remarks On ‘Intelligent Design’ Theory Fuel Debate.”

    In this article, President Bush is quoted as follows: “President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about “intelligent design,” a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity. ”

    And not to put too fine a point on this, but exactly what was President Bush doing when he learned about the events that had just occurred on 9/11?


  • Anne

    As I recall, George W. Bush was reading with children when the hijacked planes plowed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Doubtless he encouraged those children to work hard, stay in school, and get the best education they could.

    I cannot believe President Obama’s message is any different. The controversy that has arisen is nothing short of stupid. The president’s critics must think he, too, is stupid. But he is way too smart to attempt to discuss anything political with school-age children. I remember when Ronald Reagan addressed school children. Reagan certainly didn’t try to sell them on supply-side economics (or voodoo economics, depending on your point of view). He talked about all the benefits of education.

    This one is almost as silly as the death panels! I fear for our democracy given the level of discourse recently—because I do not know what the solution to that basic problem is. Lack of rationality cannot be cured by providing the facts. And lack of civil discourse by some cannot be cured by the example of those who are civilly discoursing. Ugh!

  • Laura

    Now that I’m watching the local news I find that the small “outraged” fearmongering minority are pressuring many school administrators to make President Obama’s speech an “opt-in” rather than an “opt-out” activity. I think that is wrong and ass backward. The few students whose parents are so irrationally against their kids hearing an inspirational message to apply themselves to their studies should be the ones possibly accommodated with an alternate activity rather than have the majority miss out on the regular lesson so they can listen to the president.

  • Rosemary Ruffenach

    Of course he should. He is our elected leader. What better way to help young people learn about democracy and the importance of their participation than to listen to what their president has to say to them– those who will carry forward our tradition of citizen leadership. Those who protest the plan do so for fear that Obama will attempt to advocate for health care reform within the address. Nonsense!

  • Anita Petersen

    This is silly. Yes, the president can address school children. Let’s not forget we have the final censorship with the on/off knob on our end BUT why miss such a wonderful learning opportunity. Can we (and children) learn to RESECTFULLY listen to someone who’s opinion may or may not be different from ours. If President Obama were to speak on a controversial subject (like health care) can our children or ourselves talk about why we agree with him/why we disagree with him and carry on the conversation after President Obama’s time is done? When do we start teaching children to be critical thinkers and not to censor people whose opinion may or may not be different than ours. Other presidents spoke to school children and I wonder if they received this much controversy? What are people afraid of?

  • JM

    What could be better to motivate youth to listen to the speech, if not at school then on youtube.

  • Peter Flick

    When did we as a nation stop respecting the office of the president?

    When did we as a nation stop wanting positive role models for your youth to observe? Role models who are articulate, poised, well educated.

    When did we as a nation stop wanting everyone coming together at the table to solve problems.

    When did we as a nation stop wanting our president, the leader of the free world, to tell our youth to study hard, to learn much, to work toward common goals, to care about each other?

    When did our nation?

    Why did our nation?

    What will become of our nation?

  • Nancy Moulden

    Absolutely! Obama is the president of our nation! Who better to speak to our youth to inspire and guide them. When you think of all the people they DO listen to in the media President Obama should be a refreshing change. Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion.

  • Nancy S

    The fact is that the people who are having over-the-top, brain-dead negative reactions to President Obama making an address to school children are the same ones who completely lose it over every idea that comes out of the White House. This is what the conservative movement has become: a group of people who don’t want to be bothered with any actual facts as long as they can get good and mad, who are ignorant and proud of it, who turn any open debate into a circus complete with loaded guns, and who are willing to sell their grandchildrens’ future lives down the river as long as they don’t have to part with any money. The NeoCons have given way to the EMOTICONS!

  • Bobc

    If he wants to impress the kids with staying in school in order to end up having a decent job someday…ok…but I do not trust this man. I read far too much about his past associations when he was campaigning.

    I will never trust what he says!

  • Bob

    One poster said “when did we start disrespecting the office of the President?”

    We didn’t, but many of his Czars have disrespected the entire country.

    And many citizens showed disrespect for Bush, and still do.

    Read up on Obama’s Czars, there is a lot of info to read about them and their views.

    That is the disgrace! That Obama would put these people in the White House!

    I cannot imagine what our soldiers must think, as they are off to war, knowing there is an avowed communist czar in the White House.

  • wayne Hess


    At any time and for any reason.

    He is the President of the United States and no school administrator should be so arrogant as to deny students an opportunity to hear a direct message from the President.

  • Steve the Cynic

    A “comunist czar”???? Somebody needs to brush up on world history.

  • Janette

    Of course! I can’t believe that it is open for debate. The unjustified hatred for this president sickens me.

  • Marnie

    Yes! Schools should broadcast a message from the President of the United States that encourages them to work hard because they are the future of the nation.

  • K P Moberg

    Well stated, Peter Flick… I personally distrust Bobc and Bob. If we cannot as a nation revere the office of the president and have confidence in its trustee’s ability to act in our best interests, we may as well hand our freedoms and our passports over to Kim Jong Fox News.

  • Eunice

    It is appalling to think that people in the United States would not want their children to listen to an adddress from the duly elected President of the United States. The people in charge of the school districts should not bend to this minority view. I am shocked and saddened to think that districts in Minnesota are being held hostage by biased and bigotted parents.

  • Stalin

    Comrades, what better way to win their hearts and minds?! A young impressionable captive audience, wonderful, wonderful! Don’t let them out of the room! And next up his religious leader the Rev. Wright! Not to be outdone, his personal advisor and admitted communist and cop hater van jones. What a parade… Yes children these are the new tyrants our president has endeared to us. What a role model…Wait, here come our SEIU goons ( I mean comrades) to shut up all dissent to thy leader. Hail! Hail the king – pass the kool aid to the children. “You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

    Sorry, you can’t have my children to fool …

    This is the reason I have a problem with it – the children are captive and will not be offered an alternative presentation.

    The good thing, I’m sure he’ll bore them to death and they’ll keep this impression for the rest of his short reign – ‘Turn the channel daddy, that boring obamy guy is on tv again for the 350th time this year… L.O.L., Zeus help us.

  • Mary

    It is wonderful to have a president who is truly interested in education and in our students, instead of merely using the subject of education for political platitudes. He is the President after all, and yes, he should be able to speak directly to any and all Americans whenever he wants. Any objections to this address are actually racism and racial politics hiding behind a facade of “parental concern”.

  • Beth

    I find it hard to believe that some would be opposed to this. What are they afraid of? Personally, I think the president’s address will provide many families with an opportunity to discuss their values and to help their kids understand why they agree or don’t agree with the president. What is wrong with having an open and honest discussion with our kids? Who cares if it was sparked by a presidential address. At least it gets us talking with our kids.

  • Deb


    This is a wonderful experience for students, to hear the President of the United States of America to speak about the importance of education.

    And it seems that students might look back and say, yes that was the speech I was not allowed to hear, because someone was afraid that he might say something that they didn’t like. hmmm, Could that mean that there are people that do not want our children to be educated? Do not want our children to be able to be critical thinkers?

  • Richard

    Of course the President should and always has been able to address students in schools. Both Bush Presidents did. Reagan did.

    Only extremists zealots and a very small portion of the American public has sought to use inflammatory rhetoric and zealotry to divid our nation. In this case they are willing to keep kids stupid, ill-informed, and uninvolved in the civic responsibilities of living in a democracy.

    Idiocy couldn’t get much worse than this but I’m sure the extremist wing of Republican Party will continue to find ways to devalue our country and its democracy.

  • Richard

    These posts in this forum where they scream “socialism” and “communism” and accuse people of being Czars – what a joke. Obviously these folks didn’t spend much time in school and are well trained in dogmatic zealotry. But in its essence, they don’t respect our Constitution, the separation of powers, the will of an electorate that voted Obama into office, full Democratic control of the House and Senate and two Liberal Senators in Minnesota.

  • P. Nielsen

    Of course, the President should be able to address school children. I recall both President Bush’s to have done so, and for that matter our governor has been allowed into Minnesota schools to talk with children. With that said, those narrow-minded parents who object should have the ability to not have their children see the President. I do not believe in any way his remarks would be political. Goes to show just how ignorant many have become and far behind the United States has fallen in education and teaching.

  • K P Moberg

    Anyone who doesn’t want their children to be addressed by the President of the United States because they’re politically scared of what he might say doesn’t have enough faith in their kids’ ability to think critically.

    Anyone who doesn’t want their children to be addressed by the President of the United States because they think he’ll try to indoctrinate the young comrades into his socialist agenda has trouble thinking critically themselves.

  • Sandra

    Of Course the President of Our UNITED States of America should address the students of America if he is willing. He is a shining role model-his message will obviously be positive and empowering. Why is this a question-why is the office of the president faced with such disrespect-what is different this time????!!!! It is so disheartening to see my country sink to this level-how has the right wing extremist movement been allowed to gain so much media time and influence-reasonable minds must speak out. Talk to your friends,family,and neighbors!!

  • jan

    it’s not about “direct access”…it is about encouraging school success! good grief! we decry the state of education and then some go mad about the president promoting good effort! amazing!

  • Deborah

    This is a question of educational policy not the right to free speech.

    Other than national emergency situations like 911, the educational day of Minnesota students is legislated by State and Federal policy and procedures that we as a nation have spent billions of dollars to develop and maintain. Billions because so many views about education are reflected in our educational policy and procedures.

    Each subject and the teachers who teach them, are required to align the context of lessons and accompanying materials-like a speech, within required curriculum standards. The school day is strictly dictated by those requirements.

    If the President’s speech “fits” into required curriculum standards and a teacher uses the speech to make the point about specific objectives of a lesson plan, then by all means show it-any day of the school year.

    However, to just “show” a speech-by anyone for anything, would never pass the test of a good education curriculum that belongs in the formal school day.

    Now a good teacher might use the speech in a social studies or English curriculum in a very powerful way. Just as they would any other material. So there is lots of room to make this speech a great education tool.

    I give the President points for wanting to reach the children of America with an important message. He should have been smarter about how to do it. He could have made more transparent the process of American education. But now it is just a passing argument about his right-as opposed to someone elses right, to free speech.

  • Mark

    Sadly, this uproar is at heart fuel by race. Most people do not realize it but it is. President Obama is not going to do something crazy but take a moment to try and inspire students to take the importance of education seriously.

    President Obama is a great student of history and knows that many past great leaders know that a president can inspire the people. I believe he has been inspired by President Reagan greatly regarding this approach.

    Shame that many of those who invoke the President Reagan so much are so disrespectful.

  • Carl Isaacson

    It is sad that the right wing crazies continue to dominate media coverage. They have no conscience and no morals. They are willing to lie, cheat and steal to get their way back to power. They don’t care about education, health, or anything else. All they want is raw naked power, backed by ignorant masses willing to work for minimal minimum wages. These are the powers that are complaining and teaching the ignorant to complain when the highest elected official in the United States, an extremely popular and intelligent man, wants to encourage children to stay in school and work hard to become educated.

    It is sad.

  • Karen Kapusta-Pofahl

    Of course. Schools are public institutions. Children in them say the Pledge and there are flags in the classroom. I am surprised that anyone is even questioning this. The President has a message for school children. That’s nice. It would be nice even if it were Bush giving it. Really now!

    And regarding the notion that some other commenters have expressed that somehow the president is the “the same as anyone else wanting to give a speech”–that is really silly. The President gets special privileges.

  • Laran

    Yes. The president is the president, no matter his party or current goings on. When I was a kid, Ronald Regan spoke and we had to watch it in school. There was no letter for parents to sign as an option. The first Pres. Bush did so, as well. This isn’t the first time, just the first web-cast.

    Obama will not be speaking on anything controversial, just talking up to kids with encouragement to stay in school. (oh, and the words Socialism and communism are sure being thrown around loosely. Our public school system, fire departments, police departments and libraries are all “Socialist” programs! When parents have the right to decide if their kids watch a video, it is not communism)

  • Stalin

    As usual the demoncats are hypocrits… they even investigated Bush after his speech to the students!

    Eat crow you commies…

    Obama, the new religious cult leader of the left!


  • Stalin

    To demonstrate my non-biased and independent critical thinking skills (take note demoncats) , it was a good and neutral speech, I admit – except for the AIDS reference… the vast majority of the population will succumb from cancer, heart disease, or numerous other diseases, before contracting aids…

  • Jackie

    Of course the President should be able to address school children–just as Reagan & the first Bush did. There was no media craze and moaning & groaning by Democrats at those times. The tantrum that is being demonstrated by the right-wing crazies just indicates their inability to think in any way but what they’re told by their nutty “leaders.” If anyone needs to work at educating themselves, it’s these people. I have truly lost all respect for most Republicans, because they lack the honesty and integrity to call these nuts to account. They are so mad (literally) that an educated, thoughtful, decent (black) man won the election, and they are doing everything in their power to screw up the country even more than George Bush and his cohorts did. Let’s not let them get away with it. They had 8 long years to destroy the country, Iraq, kill thousands of our young people, maim and injure hundreds of thousands more, and kill millions of innocent Iraqui people. They destroyed the economy, and poor Obama gets stuck with the mayhem. Let’s get behind the President and work to get back to a country we can be proud of once again.

  • Stalin

    Jackie – Whose the crazies?

    On October 1, 1991 – When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings…

    Whose the crazies?

    The Demoncats actually held hearings!

    The republiwimps are merely using thier freedom of speech to question the validity of the issue…

    The commies (liberals) actually used the power of the state to compel members of the

    administration to testify in front of them!

    Whose the crazies?

    It appears the NPR crowd is under the influence of the Cult leader in chief and can not see the difference in the abuse of powers… how sad.

    By the way, obamy has not reversed any of Bush’s policies, has expanded the war, increased the debt, wants to control the internet, has appointed Czars not accountable to anyone… who is more of a threat to liberty? Sure Bush started it, but obamy is furthering our demise 10x more then Bush. I despise both parties, but the demoncats are pure tyrants per they can only regurge what their cult leader tells them, no critical thought… and you wonder how the Nazi’s rose to power, history is repeating itself… it might take ten years but here we go!

    Oh well, every empire crumbles…

  • christina James

    Show some respect to our President. He is still fixing things from our last President. Wake up before it’s to late! I think some big mouth Americans should show more patriotism. Act like you are proud to be an American. Always saying negative things about the President of the United States of America. You people don’t care about the issues at hand, you just speak negativity to the weak minded type of person, then the news casters feed the fire by picking up the story, thus speading that uninformed air headed foolishness. ABC news & FOX NEWS are the worst with allowing all of that bad press against our President to air. It is just awful to say the least. Needless, to say I no longer watch those station. I bet if you people were being mistreated and in serious trouble while visting another country, The first place you’ll run to would be the American Embasy for help. Maybe you should experience that, then you can appreciate your President and your country!